Kodachadri, the highest point on the range near Kollur in South Canara District of Karnataka is famous in the trekking and biking fraternities for the spectacular sunset and sunrise that it has to offer. Over 400 kms from Bangalore, this place is not exactly a stone's throw away - but definitely worth the visit.
Trekking Routes --
There are many popular trekking routes to this place.
1. Perhaps the most famous trekking route is from NagoDi - around 15 kms from Kollur towards Hosanagara/Shimoga from where a wide trail starts and eventually narrows down to a thin trail leading to the top. The best part of this trail is a view of the IB at the top from quite a long way down so that you always know how much more you have to climb!! :D
2. The other way is on the jeep track/ biking route. This starts from a diversion on the village Nittur (on the Kollur - Shimoga road) and the route is around 17kms till the IB on the top from Nittur. Hardly anyone would trek on this unless its raining really bad!
3. A route used mainly during descent is through Arisinagundi falls. If used for the ascent, this starts on the Kollur-Nittur road just 4 kms away from Kollur, is around 6 kms away from ArisinagunDi falls and meets the route 1 near Hotel Santosh just before the ascent to the top. But I would suggest going to ArisinagunDi on the way down from Kodachadri.
4. But the best route as far as I am concerned is the route through Hidlumane falls. The jeep track to the falls begins around 4 kms from Nittur towards Kollur just after a bridge. Around 7kms down the road, you would see the awesome Hidlumane falls. During Summer months, you can take a track just by the side of the falls and make your way to the top of Kodachadri. But in the rains, there is a route by the side of the house (Hidlumane) which joins the jeep track around 3 kms before the IB on the top. Hope thats confusing enough!! :-)
Our Blah - A last minute decision to announce a BMC trek and the choice for the destination was clear - Someplace where there would be no need for permissions!! So one of the most obvious choices was Kodachadri!! Around 10 of us set off from Bangalore on Friday night - debating on which the best route to take would be! Finally we decided to go through Shimoga - Hosanagara - Nagara - Nittur from where we would start the trek.
The Junta -- Joshua, Venugopal, Priyaranjan, Sirish, Tasneem, Sriram, Sameena
Missing -- Rahul, Kasturba and myself
One of the pleasant surprises that we had early the next day was a fort right next to the road just before Nagara. We stopped by to enquire and it turned out to be 'Shivappa Naikana KoTe'.
The fort was just mindblowing! Set in a beautiful locale ..... overlooking a lake ...... and greenery all around it!! Half the junta just wanted to stay there, spend two days and go back to Bangalore!! (I might have been one of them!!) ;-)
And we continued ..... onto Nittur and embarked on our little trek on the jeep track till Hidlumane falls. This was monsoon mind you - and we started the trek with all the rain gear on. We even had colorful plastic sheets wrapped around us!! But another thing to mind was that we were oh-so-close to the coast - and that translates to HUMIDITY!! So very soon we were devoid of all the rain gear! :)
The first indication of how much water there would be in the falls came when we had to wade across a stream - around knee to thigh deep. People holding on to others' hands and crossing the stream was in itself a sight - and that was made more noticable when a villager woman walked across in ten seconds - in all the sturdy grip of hawaii chappals!!
Finally, by around lunch-time, we were at Hidlumane - the house, not the falls. This is home to a couple of brothers living with their parents and we had met the elder bro enroute here. He had, in fact, asked us to take the help of his younger sibling to reach the falls. We had lunch and most of us were in favor of ditching the falls and reaching Kodachadri early. But Venu, Rahul and Joshua had other ideas. While others wanted to rest at the house for another quarter of an hour, they ventured out towards the falls! Sriram and myself followed with Sirish!
The route to the falls is one I remember very well. After a walk across the paddy fields, we had to wade through water - a small canal of sorts made by them to irrigate their fields. Upstream, this water would have come down in the cascade known as Hidlumane falls.
With this first view of the falls, I remembered that this was not the main falls. The last time we were here, we had climbed up the falls - followed the water upstream - till we had come to a bigger one!! And as soon as I mentioned it to the junta, they were clambering up the rocks!
But clambering up slippery rocks - in the rain - is no joke! And soon, Sriram and Sirish gave up. It was the other four of us who got a glimpse of this falls -
In all my enthusiasm to click snaps here, I exposed my little Nikon 2200 to a lot more moisture than it was meant to handle - screwing it up - forcing me to try stunts like drying it in the sun!!! That is, anyway, an other story.
So, coming back to the house, a solid three quarters of an hour after we had taken leave of our other trek companions, we set off immediately on the track shown by the younger sibling of Hidlumane and we were heading towards our destination for the day - the Inspection Bunglow atop Kodachadri.
Walking through Scenic locales like this is always a pleasure. I've always loved it inspite of donating some blood to the leeches who like to dig into my feet, leaving crater marks which itch for weeks after. (Yeah .... in case u are wondering what to do about leech bites - use this cream called Betnovate - works like a charm!)
Ah well, I digressed again. Considering that am writing my blog after such a long time, I really don't care what am writing!! Am just glad am writing again!! :)
So back to when we were walking up the hill, we were walking. And walking some more. And yeah ..... some more. Everyone was doing quite well but for Tasneem who seemed to be struggling a bit, but was determined to finish the trek without anyone's help. But then, it was the monsoons here and it gets dark pretty early. A mist cover all around and your visibility is reduced too! Knowing all this, I couldn't but persuade her to keep walking and relax only when we reached the jeep track.
We had just reached the 'grasslands' above the forest cover. We still had to make it across a few hillocks before we would hit the jeep track. And so, the faster ones went ahead and at the top of every hillock, they would shine their mobiles as beacons for the ones behind!! That worked pretty well till the mist became so dense that the shining mobiles (or the torch beams) could not
travel the distances.
Anyway, with no great misadventures, all of us were safely on the jeep track before it got fully dark. And when we hit the jeep track, we took a right turn and started to walk. I was really confident that this was the right direction. But as we proceeded a few kms ahead, we began to descend!!! The gradual descent continued relentlessly for around half a km - that was when I began to doubt my own memory (and what I thought was a pretty decent sense of direction!).
Thankfully, when the doubts were at the peak, we had a jeep passing us and he confirmed that we were, in fact, heading in the right direction!! Thank goodness for small mercies! ;-)
When we reached the IB - it was chaos! It was as if we had stepped into a weekend fair at some remote village!! Too many junta in one single Bunglow! We still managed to get one room and find a place to crash for the night!
Day two began with people debating if we should trek back or take a jeep!! There was no way we would go to ArisinagunDi - that was for sure! Finally, we reached a consensus to take the jeep track all the way back.
This was a pleasure walk - a wide jeep track in exotic scenary. Greenery all around, a fine mist encompassing the place, cool breeze and not a care in the world!! Hmmmmmmmmm!
The way back was spent in singing ..... and listening to Kasturba's exploits to Everest Base Camp! After we were back in the TT, the biggest decision was - Where next??
And the answer to that was this place -- Kapu beach.
Through four years in KREC, I have a lot of memories associated with the Konkan coast - Suratkal beach, Malpe, St. Mary's Island, Bekal fort beach and so on. Kapu is one of the top ones there! A quaint looking lighthouse, spectacular panoramic views from its top, breezes bordering gusts and my nostalgia!
I guess the images from the top of the lighthouse is a nice way to end this blog!! :)